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3-shot limit?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by CeilingCat, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. CeilingCat

    CeilingCat Member

    So if some of you read my intro post on the social section. I came into a few interesting guns. Two of which were shotguns. A model 1897 12ga and a NIB model 1200. Reading through the 1200 literature it mentions a 3-shot limit for bird hunting or something similar. And detailed how to remove the wooden plug that limited the number of shells that could be loaded.

    Now onto the interesting discovery. The 1897 has seen 111 years of use and abuse. I was attempting a complete tear down today to clean and inspect the parts in preparation for a total restoration. Some of the roll pins are being stubborn and a few parts such as the trigger spring are MIA or broken.

    When I pulled out the cartridge spring I found a 10" long wooden dowel inside. This limited its capacity to 3 shots as well. Was this a common thing in the 50's - 70's? I am just trying to figure out why someone would do such a thing. And is this still an enforced law in places?

    Here's a photo.

    Attached Files:

  2. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Federal migratory birds - waterfowl, dove, etc., require a plug in the gun to limit the shots - this dates back to the days of market hunters and others who obliterated entire flocks with high-capacity magazines or large bore "punt" guns.

    It's a Federal thing
  3. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    Yep. The magazine MUST be incapable of holding more than 2 rounds for a total of 3 rounds (one in the chamber)when hunting migratory birds.
  4. CeilingCat

    CeilingCat Member

    Ok, makes sense. I guess that means someone was using the '97 for bird hunting. The only pigeons I will be chasing will be clay, so out it goes. Unless the clay variety migrate these days.... ;)

  5. 6x6pinz

    6x6pinz Well-Known Member

    Not only for migratory but until a few years ago in AZ we were only allowed 3 rounds (2 mag one in chamber) for small game, now it is four plus one. I used a number two pencil for years in my 870 and have seen a bunch of tree branches and wood dowels in some of the old shotguns I have acquired.
  6. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    I've taken whittled twigs out of a couple of my Model 97's. You can usually hear them sliding back and forth when you tilt the gun. They sure can collect some crud while in there, too.

    Hope this helps.

  7. CeilingCat

    CeilingCat Member

    Yup, Thanks! I was just ignorant of that law. So I was a little confused when I pulled the stick out. But now I am enlightened! Now I just have to figure out what parts are still usable like the barrel.
  8. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    The 3 round limit was started because of waterfowl hunting. But many, if not most states will limit you to 3 rounds for all small game hunting. It makes enforcement much easier. A duck hunter getting checked could easily claim he was actually quail hunting. Nevermind the decoys and duck calls in his possesion. A game warden may well know he was trying to duck hunt with no plug in his gun, but it makes enforcement and prosecution more difficult.
  9. justgoto

    justgoto member

    There is a 3 shell limit for deer here in Ohio also. I made my own plug for my pump that looks almost exactly like the top one in the picture.
  10. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    I have nothing to prove it but I would think the opposite would be true. That states which limit small game hunting to only 3 rounds are in the minority.
  11. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    Replacment plugs, are made of plastic, are length adjustable and can be bought at WalMart stores (and similar) for less than 5 bucks. Many a magazine spring has been ruined by a make-shift tube plug (whittled green twig).
  12. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    "Is this still an enforced law in places?"

    Here in Illinois, get caught with an unplugged gun and Department of Conservation can arrest you, seize your gun, boat, trailer, truck, ammo, dog, and anything else you might have stashed on your person.

    If you are convicted you MIGHT get your dog back,,,,

    When I was living in Texas, I used to shoot jackrabbits for dog food for a rancher friend of mine on his property.
    My weapon of choice?
    An eight shot Winchester 1300 Defender riot gun, no plug.
  13. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    I should add some more here.
    Back at the turn of the last century most waterfowl hunters were using double guns.
    The newfangled pump and even newer semi auto guns were looked upon with disdain as the guns of mass kill market hunters.

    Hunters actually got into gun battles and were killed or wounded because they showed up on the rivers and waterways toting a Winchester 1897 or Auto 5 shotguns.
  14. Blue Line

    Blue Line Well-Known Member

    well I guess the double guns were at a disadvantage since the Auto 5 had three shells:confused:

    I think there is a distict difference between a duck hunter and a quail hunter. The only limit I'm aware of is for migartory birds(duck/geese) not quail or squirrel hunting. Although I dont live in IL but I feel sorry for that guy.
  15. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    Some states have the three shot limit for shotguns for hunting all upland game. California is one. Since I moved from there 16 years ago, they may have changed the law and require loading marshmellows for all hunting now............

    Hope this helps.

  16. Pete D.

    Pete D. Well-Known Member

    Pennsylvania = three shot limit for migratory birds and small game - for hunting in general. No semi-auto pistols or rifles allowed at all.
  17. kinshipknight

    kinshipknight Member

    I've just kind of always accepted the 3 shell limit as universal for all huntable game. Never bothered to check otherwise.
  18. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Well-Known Member

    Around here it is two+one for most bird game, not limited for big game, but my slug/brush gun is plugged anyway for versatility.

    A friend of a relative got in trouble using a 3.5" pump plugged for two rounds of 3.5": an over zealous game warden was able to stuff three 2 3/4" shells in it and fined him.
  19. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    BlueLine the three shot limit on shotguns is in effect for all hunting here.
    The 3 shot limit came into effect sometime around the 1930s when market hunting became illegal.

    Prior to the law, hunters would load the guns to full capacity.

    Here in Illinois, there is no capacity limit on hunting RIFLES, nor is there a caliber restriction on private land though you cannot hunt with a centerfire or rimfire rifle for deer, only shotguns, rifled barrel or smoothbore-3 shot limit, blackpowder muzzleloading rifles, single shot or double rifles OK, and handguns-minimum caliber restriction-no semi autos.

    I use an AR15 and a .243 Winchester Model 70 for Coyote and fox and have shot raccoons with an M1 Garand here.
    In years past I have used .30 Carbine, .22/250, .250 Savage, and .22 K-Hornet so all is not bad.
  20. Blue Line

    Blue Line Well-Known Member

    My in-laws live in central IL. That FOID stuff you have out there is stupid:banghead:.

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